With reference to all of the scenes in Acts 1 & 2 explore how Shakespeare creates the audience's understanding of Henry V's character.

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With reference to all of the scenes in Acts 1 & 2 explore how Shakespeare creates the audience's understanding of Henry V's character.

In William Shakespeare’s Henry V the audience’s conception of the protagonist, King Henry develops and alters repeatedly throughout Act 1 and Act 2. Shakespeare uses his speeches and also the conversations between characters to develop the character. The audiences’ perception of Henry changes dramatically from the prologue to the end of Act 2. In the prologue the audience get the impression that King Henry is an extremely dependable leader, however as his character develops as the play goes on audiences find out that there are some flaws in his character but also find out that he also has a “whimsical” side.

As in most Shakespearean plays the main character King Henry, does not appear in the prologue or the first scene of the first act. The prologue is a chorus which speaks highly of Henry as king and describes him as 'warlike' and compares him to the god of war, Mars. This indicates that he is skilled in military matters. The initial impression the audience receives of King Henry is one who is a strong and charismatic leader that is knowledgeable about military tactics and is about to lead his country to victory in a war. 

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The first scene of the play involves the Bishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely discussing a way to keep the church from paying tax. The Bishops praise Henry multiple times and describe him as a mannered and devout individual. In Canterbury’s fourteen-line speech from lines 24 and 37, the audience is told about Henry’s past. Through the speech the audience is told how carefree and irresponsible Henry was in his youth and how much he has matured from the moment he was crowned. The two bishops converse about the fact that no one knew that the king would turn out ...

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